Nearly seven out of ten people on low and moderate incomes in the North of England have rated building more affordable homes as a key election issue - after housing waiting lists soared to record levels during the downturn, according to a new poll.
The ComRes survey of people with a household income of £25,000 or less revealed 67% of those questioned in the North of England thought building more affordable homes would be important or very important when it came to deciding which party to vote for.
68% in the North also said extra funding for lower income neighbourhoods was important or very important when it comes to deciding how to vote, according to the poll, which was commissioned by the National Housing Federation.
But the majority of people polled in the North (57%) doubted whether the three main parties would talk about building more affordable homes enough in the run up to the election - the highest score among the key issues tested among lower income groups.
Housing emerged as one of the key election issues for people on lower incomes, along with the economy, crime, health, education and employment.
Over 600,000 households in the North are now stuck on waiting lists and rising unemployment and repossessions has further fuelled demand for affordable housing during the economic downturn.
Given the scale of the country's housing crisis, the Federation has called on the three major parties to go into the forthcoming general election with a pledge to protect spending on housing - in the same way that ministers have pledged to protect investment in health, education and policing.
The Federation has warned that unless spending on housing is protected from cuts, the consequences will be dire for the millions of people stuck on housing waiting lists.
Derek Long, head of North for the National Housing Federation, said:
"The majority of people from lower income backgrounds in the North of England say that building more affordable homes will be a key issue for them in the coming election. However people in the North fear affordable housing will be undervalued by the major parties and not given the attention it deserves over the next few months.
"The main parties must listen to what the public wants - and not overlook the critical role housing plays in the lead up to the election."